Letters Of Support Lift Spirits


The room was quiet and the mood was subdued as an Australian Army chaplain stood before a classroom of Armed Forces of Ukraine soldiers in northern England.

As the freezing rain turned to hail outside, the padre, through an interpreter, told the assembled soldiers he had mail from Australia that he hoped would lift their spirits.

The Ukrainian soldiers are in the UK receiving leadership training prior to returning home to the war.

During their time in the UK, the soldiers have been revisiting and enhancing their military skills in urban and trench warfare, as well as assault and ambush methods in woodland environments.

But today, the soldiers are receiving classroom lessons and a visit from the padre.

“I come here today to convey support, admiration and appreciation for your service from the Ukrainian community in Australia,” the padre said.

He distributed handwritten letters to each of the soldiers and some Motanka dolls, traditional ceremonial guardian dolls.

Some of the soldiers were visibly moved by the gesture, one pressing his eyes to stop the tears after receiving the letter and doll.

“To our brave and courageous Ukrainian men and women, you are preparing to head into conflict on completion of your training,” the padre read out loud from one of the letters.

“I take this opportunity to wish you well in all your undertakings and want you to know that both you and your family will be in my prayers.

“That God will watch over you in all your challenges and to thank you once again for your selfless dedication to protecting your home and the free world.”

The padre said he hoped the soldiers would swap the letters among each other to buoy their spirits when they needed it.

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